|Being Fitted For In-Ears|
While mixing in-ears is a whole different ballgame, there's a larger issue that musicians must deal with before they even hit the stage - how to choose the right one. The Aviom blog recently posted a nice article on choosing a set of in-ears, but I thought I'd put my own spin on it.
1. True in-ears are not ear buds. They're only the same in the fact that they go inside your ear and that's where the similarity ends. In-ears are designed for high volume levels and have the ability to withstand a lot of vibration without dislodging.
2. Do you really need wireless? If you're a keyboard player that stands at your rig and doesn't move much, a wireless setup might be a waste of money. It would be better to spend the extra cash on a better set of in-ears than on the wireless part of the rig.
3. Do you need them custom-fitted or is a universal fit sufficient? Custom molded IEMs require a visit to an audiologist, and provide better isolation and sound quality. They're also more expensive. Universal ones are sharable (as long as you use clean tips) and less expensive.
4. Do you need multiple drivers? Many IEMs are available with specialized drivers similar to the woofer and tweeter of a speaker cabinet. Some people feel this provides better clarity, while others don't feel the extra technology is worth the extra cost.
5. Check the specs. While the differences in most specs are small, be aware that both the sensitivity and impedance specs directly translate to the amount of power that will be required. A set of in-ears with a high sensitivity and low impedance will be louder than one with either lower sensitivity or higher impedance.
In general, IEMs are just like monitor speakers. The better they are, the more you can hear and the longer you can listen to them without ear fatigue. You're usually better off spending the money on the IEMs first and foremost, then adding the wireless portion later if needed.
Check out Westone, Ultimate Ears, and ineargear.com (among many others) for more info on IEMs.
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